A Serious Warning
The Book of Revelation is a written testimony. It is the testimony of Jesus Christ concerning the things His Father said would come to pass at the end of this age.
He revealed what His Father had given Him to the Apostle John to document. Christ endorsed what John wrote as a true and faithful record. He then warned that anyone trying to ‘add’ to, or ‘take away’ from His testimony would face serious consequences.
Despite the warning many have altered Christ’s testimony to fit their own version of end-time events. Unfortunately some of these private interpretations have become accepted by many as church doctrine.
In this article we will provide you with examples to show how some have taken away from and added to Christ’s testimony to support of their own private interpretations. Our purpose is to encourage readers to study the Bible for themselves to“Prove all things” and only “hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21).
A Trustworthy Testimony
Jesus Christ had His Apostle John document His testimony for His followers, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” (Revelation 1:1-2).
He wanted His words preserved without corruption for those who would live in the end-times. He emphasised this by saying that those who ‘keep’ His words will be blessed, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3). The Greek word translated ‘keep’ means to preserve.
When He endorsed the truth and trustworthiness of what John had recorded He reiterated what He had said about keeping His words intact, “And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:6-7).
He added that there would be serious consequences if anyone were to ‘add unto’ or ‘take away’ from its contents, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19).
Anyone who alters the words, meaning, or sequence of events that Christ has endorsed as true and trustworthy is in danger of making a lie out of what He has said and will suffer the fate those who,“…loveth and maketh a lie” (Revelation 22:15). This passage implies that they put their eternal life in jeopardy if they add to or take away from Christ’s testimony.
Christ said that there will be many false teachers who will deceive many, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11). And Peter warned that we are not to make our own interpretations of the prophecies, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (II Peter 1:20).
We need to be very careful we do not alter what Christ has said to fit our own interpretations.
Structure of the Testimony
First Christ declares that His testimony bares record to what God has given Him to reveal to the brethren and as such is to be preserved intact (Revelation 1:1-3).
After the introduction He focuses attention through the messages to the seven churches on the need for believers to be spiritually prepared for what is to come. He is speaking to brethren in all congregations throughout the centuries until He returns. That message is for them to be spiritually prepared for when He returns (Revelation 1:4 through to 3:22).
Christ’s authority is then authenticated by God as the only one worthy of loosening the seven seals and opening book of prophecy that the Father has given Him (Revelation 4: 1 through to 5:14).
He then reveals a number of prophetic events that will take place up to the end of this age symbolised by a series of seven seals. The seventh seal comprises a further series of events symbolised as seven trumpets, the last of which includes seven vials, or plagues. These seals, trumpet and vials are revealed as a sequence of events leading up to His return. After His return comes the Millennium and then the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 6:1 through to Revelation 20:15).
He concludes the testimony by describing the Bride, symbolically portrayed as the New Jerusalem, who having been prepared and arrayed in righteousness descends to a new earth (Revelation 21:1 through to 22:9).
In conclusion Christ reiterates the admonition to preserve His testimony intact and adds a warning that to ‘add to’ or ‘take away’ from the ‘things’ He has said will result in serious consequences (Revelation 22:10 -21).
It should be noted that no one other than Christ was able to open and look upon the sealed book, indicating that He alone is the only one authorised to interpret its contents, “And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” (Revelation 5:3-9).
No man was able to open, or look upon it and perceive what it said, indicating that no human is authorised to, or capable of, interpreting what Christ saw. Only Christ was worthy to understand its meaning.
So we must look to Christ for the interpretation and not to men.
Preserved Through the Ages
In order to preserve His testimony down through centuries of changing geopolitical boundaries, languages and technology Christ employed symbolism, typology and analogy in much the same way He had used parables when speaking to His disciples, “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” (Matthew 13:10-13).
Many have seen this as an opportunity to teach their own interpretation and in doing so whether deliberately, or inadvertently have taken away from, or added to, Christ’s testimony.
First Example - Message to the Churches
The message to the seven churches is perhaps the most important part of the whole testimony because it is directed at the brethren whose primary purpose, especially in these end-times is to focus their efforts on their spiritual preparation for what is ahead.
From among the many churches in existence at that time Christ chose seven congregations of close proximity, each with specific problems that would be common to future generations of the Church. He said to each of them, ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches’. These messages recorded as ‘the words of this prophecy’ are applicable not only to those seven churches in Asia Minor at that time, but to all congregations and individuals down through the centuries He returns.
The messages apply especially today when the Church of God comprises a scattering of congregations and groups each with their own particular problems, all of which are addressed in these seven prophetic messages.
The collective underpinning message of spiritual preparation parallels the earlier warning that Christ gave to His disciples when they had asked Him about the end-times, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:1-13).
This parable is incredibly significant. Here Christ uses the same symbolism of a bride preparing to meet her bridegroom as He employs in the Book of Revelation and the warning in both cases is given in association with what He has revealed, or is about to reveal, to His followers about end-time events.
What He said in Matthew is warning for the bride to be preparing for the bridegroom by utilising the Holy Spirit. It is a similar warning given to the seven churches from Revelation 1:4 through to 3:22 which ends with the admonition, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:19-22).
Taken collectively at face value the message to the seven churches applies to all individuals, all congregations and all church organisations throughout the ages. It doesn’t matter what time, location or congregation we are associated with, the over-riding message is to focus on our spiritual preparation for the Kingdom.
A popular concept that has been taught is that the seven churches of Revelation prophetically represent seven successive church eras that are to exist from the time of Christ until His return.
There is absolutely no indication in the Book of Revelation or Christ’s teachings to support this concept. The ‘church eras’ doctrine is a classic case where men through their own private interpretation have added a new meaning to Christ’s testimony.
As we have already discussed, no man has the authority to add anything to Christ’s testimony.
The ‘church eras’ concept encourages brethren to associate themselves with the faultless ‘Philadelphian era’ and thereby ignore the problems of the other ‘eras’ that also apply to them. They claim that other church organisations are ‘Laodecian’ in nature and that causes animosity between groups and individuals fostering criticism, accusations and discrimination.
On reflection the concept has produced an unhealthy attitude of righteous superiority that has blinded many to Christ’s real warning, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” (Revelation 3:17-18).
The obsession many have with their ‘Philadelphian’ status has detracted from Christ’s message to those who are part of the bride to preparation for His coming through the use of the Holy Spirit that He has given them.
The ‘eras’ doctrine is a classic case of men adding their own interpretation to Christ’s testimony and detracting from the importance of Christ’s message.
Second Example – Seventh Trumpet
Following the instruction for the brethren to prepare spiritually Christ reveals a timeline of events symbolised by seals, trumpets and vials that lead up to His return.
Most of us are familiar with the teaching that the saints will be resurrected at the return of Christ when the seventh trumpet is sounded. Some maintain that it is also the time when the wedding ceremony takes place and they maintain that the bride will be comprised of those saints resurrected from this age only.
Revelation 10:7 through to Revelation 16:21 describes the events associated with the seventh trumpet and a close study of this passage reveals that not one of these three events is mentioned.
Many teach that Christ will return at the beginning of the seventh trumpet. But according to Christ’s own testimony He does not return until after all the events associated with seventh trumpet have been fulfilled.
Those events include the seven vials that are poured out as part of the seventh trumpet. That included the sixth and seventh vials, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” (Revelation 16:15-21).
It is only after these armies have been gathered at the conclusion of the seventh trumpet that Christ will return to defeat them, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Revelation 19:11-14).
That is when He will come with His own armies from Heaven, “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” (Revelation 19:19).
During the course of the seventh trumpet there is pronouncement from Heaven that many have assumed heralds His return, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15).
But this is only a pronouncement. It is made before any of the vials are poured out and before the armies are even gathered at Armageddon. It does not say that Christ will return to earth at this point in the proceedings. We have to be careful not to add events to Christ’s time-line that are simply not there. According to His sequence of events He will only return after all the events associated with the seventh trumpet have been fulfilled
Resurrection of Saints
Many also teach that the resurrection of the saints will occur when the seventh trumpet is sounded. Again there is no specific mention of this occurring during the course of events associated with the seventh trumpet.
The pronouncement is to warn the leaders of this world of what is going to happen. They will be angered because it means their rule will come to an end when Christ does return, “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:18).
Many claim that the reward given to the saints mentioned here indicates the resurrection when they are given eternal life. However, it is more likely the reward they will be given is their role in the government of Christ’s that has just been announced, “…and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.” (Revelation 5:10 RSV, see also Revelation 1:6).
To understand when the saints will be resurrected we need to let Christ provide the answers. What He had previously told His disciples about end-time events can help us understand what He later revealed to John, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).
He said the saints are to be resurrected when He appears in the clouds immediately after the time of great tribulation that is followed by the heavenly signs, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31).
Many assume that when He appears and the saints are gathered to Him in the clouds and then He will descend to earth with them. But Christ does not say that! He gives no indication in Matthew 24 that He will set foot on earth with the saints at that time.
After His description of the resurrection He gives a parable to set the scene for what He is going to tell them about His return, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:” (Matthew 24:32).
He then tells them that when ‘all these things’ have taken place they will still not know the day, nor hour of His return, “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24 33-36).
What He meant by ‘all these things’ was all of the things that He had just described to them including the resurrection of the saints. When all of these things had been fulfilled they would still not know the day, or hour of His return.
His disciples had asked for a sign of His coming and He gave them the sign. What many do not realise is that the resurrection of the saints is part of that sign. And when that sign has been fulfilled we will know that His return is imminent but we still will not know the hour or day it will take place.
When the disciples asked “…what shall be the sign of thy coming” the Greek word translated as ‘coming’ is ‘parousia’ which means advent, or presence as in arrival (Matthew 24:3). Although asked about His arrival from Heaven He replied, “…and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds” (Matthew 24:30) using a different Greek word ‘erchomai’ which can according to context mean merely ‘to appear’ which is the case in this particular instance.
He will appear in the clouds and gather the saints as described in Matthew 24:29-36, Mark 13:24-32 and Luke 21:25-32 but this is only the first stage of His return. He will not return to earth at that time. He will return after the events of the seventh trumpet have been fulfilled as He described in Revelation 19:11-21.
The events Christ described in Matthew 24:29-36, Mark 13:24-32 and Luke 21:25-32 coincide with what Christ revealed to John as the sixth seal which is opened before any of the trumpets are blown, “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” (Revelation 6:12-14).
Immediately after this He described the sealing of the saints who have come out of tribulation and are shown to be standing before the throne of God, “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:13-17).
It is only after the events have taken place that the seventh seal, which comprises the seven trumpets, is opened, “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.” (Revelation 8:1-2).
According to the sequence of events given by Jesus Christ in His testimony He will appear in the clouds to resurrect the saints immediately after the time of great tribulation. This is before the first trumpet is even sounded let alone the seventh trumpet.
To say the resurrection of the saints will take place when the seventh trumpet is sounded we would have to take the resurrection away from the sixth seal where Christ said it would occur and add as an event it to seventh trumpet where it does not belong. This is the very thing that Christ warned us not to do!
It should also be noted that after the saints are resurrected they are pictured as being in Heaven before the throne of God as we have just read in Revelation 7:13-17.
Between the time of their resurrection at the sixth seal and their return to earth with Christ after the seventh trumpet and seven vials, the saints are shown to be standing on the sea of glass in Heaven before the throne of God, “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” (Revelation 14:1-3).
Just before the seven vials are about to be poured out they are shown once again as standing on the sea of glass before the throne of God, “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” (Revelation 15:1-3).
These resurrected saints who are shown in Christ’s testimony to be in Heaven, are also shown as returning to earth with Him after all the events of the seventh seal, including the seven trumpets and seven vials have been fulfilled, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Revelation 19:11-14).
Those armies will include the saints as Enoch revealed, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,” (Jude 1:14).
Those who support a seventh trumpet return are quick to point out that the saints are raised to the sound of a trump and indeed that is correct, “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:31).
Paul confirmed this, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)
In fact he said they would be raised at the last trumpet, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (I Corinthians 15:52).
But is it the seventh trumpet of Revelation the last trump to which He referred?
Trumpets were blown in ancient Israel on numerous occasions for a variety of reasons. They were not only blown on the Day of Trumpets, they were blown whenever a sacrifice was offered up to God on all of the Holy Days, “Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.” (Numbers 10:10).
On any Holy day there was a series of trumpets blown that culminated in the ‘last trump’ of that particular day.
Christ’s testimony does not indicate that the saints are resurrected on the last of the seven trumpets. It does however indicate that the resurrection of the saints will take place at the time of the sixth seal which is at least five months prior to the seventh trumpet because we know that the events of fifth trumpet will take five months to be fulfilled (Revelation 9:5).
These are Christ’s word not ours! We do not have to add, or take away from His testimony to arrive at these conclusions.
It is interesting to note that the Day of Pentecost also called the Feast of Weeks occurs about five months prior to Trumpets and on that Holy Day there were a number of sacrifices offered to God. They offered seven lambs, one bullock, two rams as a burnt offering plus a drink offering and two loaves of bread made from the harvest (Leviticus 23:16-19). As each item was offered a trumpet was sounded and the ‘last trump’ of the day was sounded as the last offering was made. This ‘last trump’ could well be what Paul was referring to in I Corinthians 15:52 (for more detail see our article entitled ‘Last Trump’).
This is especially significant when considering the fact that Christ made no mention in His testimony of the saints being resurrected when the seventh trump is sounded.
Many have also assumed that because the Two Witnesses are to be resurrected as the seventh trump begins to sound (Revelation 11:7) that the saints will also be resurrected at that time. But in making this assumption they overlook some major differences between the resurrection of the saints and that of the Two Witnesses.
For example, the saints and prophets are gathered by angels to Christ in the clouds at the time of the sixth seal, “…and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:30-31).
When the seventh trumpet begins to sound the Two Witnesses are restored to life and ascend directly to Heaven from whence they are called, “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” (Revelation 11:11-12).
They are not gathered by the angels to Christ like the saint and prophets. They go directly to Heaven. And because the events of the fifth trumpet will last five months (Revelation 9:5) we know that the resurrection of the saints and prophets will be at least five month prior to the two witnesses being raised and called to Heaven (we recommend reading our article entitle ‘The Two Witnesses’).
The resurrection of the two witnesses will occur during the time of the seventh trumpet when the saints are already in Heaven.
Supporters of the seventh trumpet resurrection have taken the resurrection of the saints away from the sixth seal where Christ said it would occur and have added it to the seventh trumpet to fit their own interpretation. In doing so they are in clear breach of Christ’s warning not to ‘take away’ from or ‘add unto’ His testimony.
Third Example – The Wedding Ceremony
The last example we want to discuss in this paper is that of the wedding ceremony which some claim will take place soon after the saints are resurrected when the seventh trumpet sounds.
Again there is no mention of this by Christ when describing the events that will take place when the seventh trumpet is sounded.
It is only after all the events described in the seals, trumpets and vials have been fulfilled and judgment is pronounced on Babylon that a pronouncement is made concerning the Bride, “And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:5-9).
The statement ‘For the marriage of the Lamb is come’ announces that it is now time to focus on the marriage of the Lamb. The phrase that ‘his wife has made herself ready’ indicates that the bride has been making herself ready. In Hebrew tradition the bride is called the ‘wife’ from the time of betrothal. The betrothal usually takes place well before the actual wedding ceremony to give them time to prepare for the marriage.
Then comes the time for her to begin putting on her wedding garments for the actual marriage ceremony that is yet to come, “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white’. The wedding garment is revealed to be the righteousness of the saints ‘for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints’.
This passage indicates that preparations have been made and all that remains is for the bride to be arrayed in her wedding garments so the ceremony can take place. According to the chronology of the Book of Revelation the actual ceremony does not take place until the very end after the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment which are part of the preparation period. After the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment those who are resurrected to spirit are like the saints who were resurrected before them also ‘arrayed’ in the ‘righteousness of the saints’.
When the bride and groom are finally ready for the wedding ceremony and wedding supper to take place we are shown the bride descending from the Fathers abode arrayed in her wedding garment of righteousness to the new home prepared for her by the groom where the wedding ceremony will take place, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:1-2).
This description in Christ’s own words follows traditional Hebrew wedding practices. It is the crowning glory of God’s magnificent plan to reconcile mankind to Him and to make them part of His family.
It is the spectacular outcome involving billions of saints redeemed from the world and presented as the bride for His beloved Son Jesus Christ. It glorifies God’s great love, mercy and benevolence for mankind.
Those who maintain the wedding takes place at the time of the seventh trumpet have in effect removed this incredible event from its rightful place at the culmination of God’s awe-inspiring achievement and located it elsewhere as if it was only a secondary event.
In doing so they limit the bride to only the few who are resurrected from this age and diminish the magnificent fulfilment of God’s plan for mankind to a mere glimmer of the great glory and honour due to the Father for incredible accomplishment. Anyone who is not part of the bride will not be in His Kingdom.
It is tragic that men have corrupted Christ’s testimony by diminishing the impact of His message for the bride to prepare for the wedding. They have reduced the bride to a mere handful and in doing so have lessened the glory due to our benevolent God for giving each of us the opportunity to live forever in His magnificent Kingdom.
The Book of Revelation is the equivalent of a testimony given in court. One that has been recorded word for word by a court official then endorsed by Christ as a true and faithfully rendition of what He revealed to be in the Book His Father gave Him - the Book that He alone was worthy to open and read.
Christ warned that anyone trying to tamper with His testimony by adding to or taking away from it would be committing what is tantamount to a criminal offence punishable by death.
That is a very serious warning indeed - one that should be heeded by all.
Again we reiterate Christ’s warning, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19).
For further information be sure to read our two companion articles:
“The Two Witnesses”